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National Library Takes Readership Promoting Campaign To Ebenebe Community

By Izunna Okafor

Reading has been described as a veritable tool for empowering the vulnerable and eradicating illiteracy in the society.

This formed the point of discourse at the 2019 Readership Promotion Campaign recently championed by the Enugu State Branch of the National Library of Nigeria (NLN), which held at Ebenebe Civic Center in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Speaking at the event, the National Librarian and Chief Executive Officer of the NLN, Prof. Lenrie O. Aina disclosed that the main objective of the nationwide readership campaign was to encourage reading among Nigerians through carrying out sensitization activities and provision of reading materials, while also describing it as a collective effort with other stakeholders in order to profer solutions that would ameliorate the poor reading culture in Nigeria.

Prof. Aina, represented by the Assistant Chief Librarian NLN Abuja, Mrs. Gloria Okeagu described vulnerability in this context as the diminished capacity of an individual or group to anticipate, cope with, resist or recover from the impact of natural or man-made hazard; even as lamented that poor reading culture was a social phenomenon that cuts across all social strata of the Nigerian society.

He said "..by way of strategies, the 2018 campaign that was extended to the early part of this year, covered hospitals, and motor parks across the nation with a focus on pregnant women, drivers and passengers. To keep the tempo going, the 2019 readership promotion campaign — in line with the present administration's policy of reaching out to the vulnerable and the poor — is covering semi-urban communities and custodial centres of the Nigerian Correctional Service across the country."

Earlier in her address of welcome, the Head of Branch, NLN Enugu State Branch, Mrs. Neboh Rachael Ify said the exercise was designed to encourage reading among the populace, despite one's age, profession, gender or class in the community, and also to arouse people's in interest towards reading, so as to maximize the numerous benefits it confers.

In her words, "Reading enriches the mind, makes a man, liberates one from the shackles of poverty, illiteracy, ignominious jobs/appointments, hopelessness, failure, and other factors that may make one become a downtrodden/less privileged or even hinder their progress."

Thematically sharing her academic and professional experiences with the participants who are mostly adults, the Director, Anambra State Library Services, Dr. Nkechi Udeze urged them never to stop reading or regard reading as an exclusive reserve of the young ones or students, but to take it as a continuous and general mental exercise; as according to her, abstinence from reading unarguably makes one a dunce within a record time.

Responding, the Traditional Ruler of Ebenebe, H.R.M. Igwe Chris E. Nnaegbuna (JP) appreciated the organizers of the event for extending their hands of partnership to the community, by hosting this year's Readership Promotion Campaign therein. He described reading as a necessity and a very important exercise to every human being, irrespective of gender or age, even as he also advised the participants to take the event as a reawakening call by holding reading to a high esteem henceforth and practising it daily, owing to the numerous benefits it confers.

Others who spoke at the well-attended event included the Traditional Prime Minister of the community, Chief Joe Nwegwu, and the President General of Ebenebe Town Union, Hon. Paul Nnatu, represented by the Secretary General of the town union, Comrade Charles Onyebuchi, among others.

The 2019 Readership Promotion Campaign was not without innovation, as it birthed and featured the official launching of Ebenebe Community Library which is a book-filled shelf donated to the people of the community by the National Library of Nigeria.